mass celebrated in Winnipeg
WINNIPEG — The pews
of Winnipeg’s St. Ann’s Roman Catholic Church were filled
to near capacity for mass on Sept. 4, with parishioners keen to worship
in a language that most did not even understand.
The now weekly 10 a.m. mass
is being said in Latin, with Rev. Jeffrey Burwell, SJ, presiding.
“Following the liturgy,
even with the help of the missal, can be a grace-filled challenge for
those who either have no prior experience or have not attended the Latin
mass since the 1960s,” says Burwell. “It is nevertheless
clear that those attending have a real desire to actively participate.
With such dedication, they will soon understand the liturgy in its fullness.”
The Extraordinary Form of
the Roman Rite is the term used for the traditional Latin mass. After
the Second Vatican Council ended in 1965, Roman Catholics were granted
permission to celebrate the liturgy in their own languages, called the
language is officially Latin. Other religions have sacred languages,
Islam has Arabic, Judaism has Hebrew, and Hindu has Sanskrit,”
says Burwell, 36, who teaches Catholic studies at the University of
Manitoba and studied Latin during his undergraduate days at the University
about the sacred language. It roots us in our tradition.”
Parishioner Kateri Muys was
eager to participate in the mass, having experienced it while studying
at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy in Barry’s Bay, Ont.,
anything really like it,” explains the 21-year-old Oak Bluff resident.
“Once you worship in Latin, you don’t want to go back.”
The first two Sundays of
the Latin mass featured the 75-minute high mass, but from then on the
hour-long low mass is being celebrated, with the high mass being reserved
for feast days, says Burwell,
Winnipeg’s first official
Latin mass in nearly five decades comes about with the support of the
archdioceses of Winnipeg and St. Boniface after Pope Benedict XVI declared
that those who want to worship using the traditional Latin liturgy should
be given the opportunity, says Winnipeg Archbishop James Weisgerber.
“We’ve been encouraged
to expose them to that, to continue this tradition of the church,”
explains Weisgerber. “Archbishop LeGatt (of St. Boniface) and
I are co-operating on this because we want to make it accessible to
the whole community.”
Ordained while Latin was
still widely used, Weisgerber says he’ll consider dusting off
his Latin and pinch-hitting for Burwell on Sunday mornings if necessary.
Attending Latin masses in
London, England and St. Louis, Miss. convinced Winnipegger John Cortens
to join the group at St. Ann’s on Sunday mornings.
“It is very, very moving
and prayerful and reverent in those places,” recalls Cortens.
“We’re just sort of a ragtag group trying to do the same
in a small way.”
For Anselm Ragelti, worshiping
in Latin also means an opportunity to learn the liturgy in a new way,
since he is serving as an altar boy at St. Ann’s. Unlike the Ordinary
Form in which the people respond to the priest in the liturgy, the six
altar boys recite the responses in the Latin mass.
“I found it really
beautiful,” says Ragelti, 14, of his previous experiences with
the Extraordinary Form while attending a Catholic boys’ camp in
South Dakota. “Latin is very beautiful and it translates into
Burwell’s homily is
delivered in English, as are the readings from Scripture. He is confident
his new parishioners will become more comfortable with Latin and will
soon know the difference between the Gradual and a genuflection.
“Those who attend the Extraordinary Form of the liturgy at St. Ann’s will find themselves nourished both by a beautiful celebration of the eucharist on the altar as well as a community of prayerful friendship that is developing in the pews,” Burwell says.